There was once a very wealthy old man who lived in a mansion, which was adorned with all sorts of expensive items. Exquisite pictures and paintings lined the walls, fine furniture filled the rooms, and fancy decorations were placed all about. The wealthy man had but one son and the son joined the military. He died soon afterwards, while serving in the war, which greatly saddened the old man.
One day, a friend of the young man who died came to the house of the old man. He carried with him a portrait of the old man’s son, which he had painted himself. He told the old man that he had served with the son in the war, and that the son died while trying to protect him. The portrait was his way to remember the love the son had shown for him. He gave the portrait to the old man, who thanked him.
The quality of the portrait wasn’t to the old man’s usual standards, quite unlike the portraits he had purchased in the past. Yet something about the picture was unique and precious. Something seemed real about the way the friend had portrayed his son’s eyes. They were exactly as the old man had remembered. He hung the portrait in a very prominent place in the home, just above the mantle of a fireplace.
A few years passed before the old man died. With no other family members to inherit his wealth, he had directed that an auction be held. The first item to be auctioned was the portrait of his son. People came from all around to the auction, anxiously anticipating the opportunity to purchase some valuable items. When the auctioneer held up the portrait, no one bid on it. He called out again and a little old lady who worked as a maid in the old man’s home bid on the portrait. She gave all that she could afford, which was $50. Since no one else bid any higher, the portrait went to the lady.
The auctioneer then announced that the auction was over. People were shocked, asking about all of the other items in the home and about the home itself. “It’s over. You see, the will said that ‘everything goes to the person who purchases the picture of my son.'”
- Credit for this story goes to the senior pastor of the Bell Shoals Baptist Church, Stephen Rummage, for his service on December 25, 2015.